On the following Monday, I resumed my walk northward, after a carriage ride which a Friend kindly gave me for a few miles on the way. Passed through a pre-eminently grain-producing district. Apparently full three-fourths of the land were covered with wheat, barley, oats, and beans. The fields of each were larger than I had noticed before; some containing 100 acres. The coming harvest is putting forth the full glory of its golden promise. The weather is all a farmer could wish, beautiful, warm, and bright. Nature, in every feature of its various scapes, seems to smile with the joy of that human happiness which her ministries inspire. Here, in these still expanses, waving with luxuriant crops, apparently so thinly peopled, one, forgetting the immense populations crowded into city spaces, is almost tempted to ask, where are all the mouths to eat this wide sea of food for man and beast, softening so gently into a yellow sheen under the very rim of the distant horizon? But, in the great heart of London, beating with the wants of millions, he will be likely to reverse the question, and ask, where can one buy bread wherewith to feed this great multitude?
At Sawston, a rustic little village on the southern border of Cambridgeshire, I entered upon the enjoyment of English country-inn life with that relish which no one born in a foreign land can so fully feel as an American. As one looks upon the living face of some distinguished celebrity for the first time, after having had his portrait hung up in the parlor for twenty years, so an American looks, for the first time, at that great and picturesque speciality among human institutions, the village inn of old England. The like of it he never saw in his own country and never will. In fact, he would not like to see it there, plucked up out of its ancient histories and associations. In the ever-green foliage of these it stands inwoven, as with its own network of ivy. Other countries, even older than England, have had their taverns from time immemorial; but they are all kept in the background of human life. They do not come out in contemporaneous history with any definiteness; not even accidentally. If a king is murdered in one of them, or if it is the theatre of the most thrilling romance of love, you do not know whether it is a building of stone, brick, or wood; whether it is one, two, or three stories in height. No outlines nor aspects are given you to help to fill up a rational picture of it. Neither the landlord nor the landlady is drawn as a representative man or woman. Either might be mistaken for a guest in their own house, if seen in hat or bonnet by a stranger.